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A Dispatch

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February 23, 2005

Does HTML Email Save You Money?

I don't know where to begin with this one. It's a medz spammer who, in my estimation, is not an English speaker and has thus fallen prey to the weirdness of the Babel Fish translator, or Roget's Thesaurus run amok. But there's more to the story.

First comes the incomprehensible Subject: line:

Subject: Such specific -- elfin price!

Oh, okay, I get it. "Elfin" must be a synonym for "small" or "tiny." But the first part escapes me.

I'll get to the content in a moment, but the underlying premise is that the medz will be coming from India. The domain name for this ad is hosted in China, and the domain is registered (supposedly) to somone in Australia. Something tells me, however, that the registrant's regular email address account name (at a free Web mail service) isn't "lkjlljsdfalkjlasdfasdf," like it says in the registration.

Now we get to the message. If you were to read the suspicious message in your email client's normal view mode (not a good idea, as Spam Wars readers know), you wouldn't see that there are two versions of the message: one for text-only viewers and another for HTML viewers.

The text-only version says:

Seek medicine flat from Food and Drug Administration authorized factory-owner in India. Reserve up to 55% on our narcotics.

(Oh yah! I'm sure it's easy for a consumer to check with the FDA that an Indian factory, whose products are being sold through a gibberish-dot-com, is "authorized." And the FDA must work really, really fast because the domain name was issued [drum roll] yesterday.)

Here's the HTML version:

Ask for pharmaceuticals directly from
Food and Drug Administration accepted manufacturer in Republic of India.
Reserve up to 70% on indian medication.

Comparing the language of the two, you can see the synonym roulette in operation (seek/ask; flat/directly). The use of "narcotics" in the text version seem a bit jarring to my eye (and I'm no narc).

But how 'bout them discounts! You can save so much more on the HTML version of your medz. Uh huh. The links from the two message segments are absolutely identical.

Stupid spammers won't ever learn to make their offerz credible. Keep up the lousy work, because it makes it so much easier for us to completely ignore you. ZERO RESPONSE for you!

Posted on February 23, 2005 at 09:39 AM